The Skimmer & MPA News

MPA News

As the global MPA community approaches the 2020 deadline for meeting Aichi Target 11, it must achieve two potentially very different goals. There is the numerical goal of covering 10% of coastal and marine areas in MPAs. And there is the qualitative goal that the conservation be achieved through “effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems” of protected areas.

Achieving the numerical goal will be easier than the rest.

MPA News

By Rafael Magris

In November 2015, 39 million cubic meters of metal-contaminated slurry polluted riverine and coastal waters in southwestern Brazil when a tailings dam failure occurred in a headwater of the Doce River catchment. (A tailings dam is used to store wastes from mining operations.) The plume of contaminated sediment ultimately reached several sensitive marine habitats including coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and habitats formed by coralline crustose algae. Much of the sediment accumulated in two marine protected areas – Santa Cruz Wildlife Refuge and Costa das Algas Environmental Protection Area.

MPA News

By Erich Hoyt and Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

In late January 2019, the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force announced approval of 30 new Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in the North East Indian Ocean and South East Asian Seas Region. IMMAs are areas of habitat that are important to marine mammal species, and which have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. On a map, IMMAs are “marine mammal layers” intended to spotlight areas that may lead to MPAs or other conservation outcomes, such as ship route or noise reduction directives, and may be used in the course of marine spatial planning.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor’s note: Several new papers have examined the feasibility and advisability of applying different management and conservation measures at different depths of the water column (aka ‘vertical zoning’). In this issue, with help from a couple of experts, The Skimmer takes a quick look at the history of vertical zoning and current thinking on where it can and should go next.

Why would we want to do vertical zoning? Isn’t 2D[1] conservation and management complicated enough?

  • As The Skimmer readers are well aware, the marine environment (temperature, pressure, salinity, light, nutrients, oxygen, currents, physical structures, etc.) and the species that inhabit it vary dramatically with depth. One just has to read the latest articles about fascinating new creatures discovered in the deep ocean to get a sense of this.
     
  • This variability means that entirely different communities of organisms with different human uses, vulnerabilities, and conservation needs exist at different depths at the same latitude/longitude. This variability creates complexity for conservation and management but also opportunity. Most conservation and management actions essentially treat the ocean as 2D. Allowing different suites of human activities at different depths, however, could potentially reduce restrictions on human activities in the marine environment (potentially increasing public support for conservation and management activities) while affording the same level of ecosystem protection as vertically homogenous management. We catch up with the latest thinking on the soundness of this approach and our ability to implement it below.
The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management
The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM and MSP processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network, a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.

Several months ago, an EBM Tools Network member asked a question about how a project in Abu Dhabi could map marine ecosystem service hotspots. Mapping marine ecosystem service hotspots involves mapping relevant marine ecosystem services, then assimilating results for individual ecosystem services in an ecologically and politically justifiable manner. Neither of these tasks is trivial for various reasons: 1) the spatial data needed to map ecosystem services is severely limited, 2) ecosystem services are very heterogeneous, making them difficult to compare (e.g., some can be easily quantified in monetary terms while others cannot), and 3) developing societal consensus on how to weight diverse ecosystem services is extremely difficult.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor’s note: A new resource that just came out adds some additional European context to our article from last month - “Missing half the story: How considering gender can improve ocean conservation and management”. Many thanks to Sophia De Smet of the FARNET Support Unit for sending us this information.

EU Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) are local partnerships that bring together the private sector, local authorities, and civil society organizations to fund projects to address specific local needs and opportunities. A recent report explored FLAG support to women in the EU fisheries and aquaculture industry. They found that:

  • Even though women represent ~27% of the workforce in the EU seafood industry (~100,000 women in 2014), their role in the industry is both understudied and undervalued.

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